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PyeongChang Sliding Track gets Aussie approval ahead of Test Event

17 March 2017

SLIDING SPORTS: Australian athletes from the sliding disciplines of skeleton and bobsleigh have given the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic track their seal of approval ahead of this weekend’s Olympic Test Event.

With this round of the ISBF World Cup serving as the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event, Skeleton athlete Jackie Narracott said the track at the Alpensia Sliding Centre is fantastic.

“It's fun and technical with some tricky sections,” Narracott reported.

“Race days will be interesting because it's one of those tracks that's easy to get down but one mistake in the wrong section and its almost game over.

“It's not as fast as we'd hoped but the design itself well and truly makes up for that.”

Narracott, who is likely to be Australia’s only female skeleton athlete at the Games, has spent the last several weeks in the 2018 Olympic city and believes it is shaping up to be a great venue.

“Everything is incredibly close and the people are wonderful too,” she said.

“From the top of the track we can see all the mountain venues which is super cool.”

Echoing similar thoughts was Sochi Olympian and pilot of the 4-man bobsleigh team Lucas Mata, who is hoping to make his second Olympic appearance at next year’s Games.

“It is a cool little ski field here in PyeongChang and very beautiful. I think the Games next year will be awesome for athletes and spectators,” said the 28-year-old who described the track as “an interesting one.”

“It is not a difficult track to get to the bottom in one piece, however the transitions and to find speed is difficult,” said the Perth-native.

“Some corners require a lot of choreography with your hands to drive.”

Mata believes one of the benefits of the Korean track was that while it was a busy track, it also was relatively safe.

“You can try a lot of things and know that the result will have you exiting the corner with not too much problem.

“If you did that at any other track you wouldn’t be so lucky.”

Mata will be joined by team mates Lachlan Reidy, David Mari and Chris Gudzowsky to compete this weekend, and the green and gold team have found support from their competitors from the North, Team Canada.

“We have developed this relationship and in doing this we get a lot of coaching help among other things,” said Mata on their new-found friendship with the Canadian bobsleigh team.

“This was super helpful when learning a track. Myself and the team have 5-6 coaches at our disposal to discuss lines and develop a driving program for this track.
“The Canadians have been driving this track very well and with more runs down the track and a good push we can too.”

Prepped and ready to go for the weekend’s competition, Mata said his crew have no real tactics leading into the race.

“We have been trying to maintain our bodies in the best shape possible - with limited gym facilities.

“I have a great driving program and I just need to execute it, and as a team we need to push quick.”

For Narracott, this weekend serves as a dress rehearsal to what she hopes will be the big show next February.

“More so in terms of getting processes set than actual race results,” said the Queenslander on her approach to this World Cup/Test Event.

“The emphasis will still be 100% on learning to make the most of the limited opportunities we have.

“It's a different mindset to get into but a necessary one to ensure we've left no stone unturned.”

26-year-old Narracott said she’s just enjoying being in the city which will hopefully be the stage for her Olympic debut.

“I'm loving being here and getting the chance to soak it all in so next year is ever so slightly less of a shock.

“Sliding has been going well and we are loving the track and sliding here.”

Narracott will be the first Australian competing at the Test Event, with her competition kicking off on Friday at 16:00 AEST. Mata and the Australian bobsleigh team will follow on Sunday at 17:30 AEST.

All results can be found HERE

Live stream the women's skeleton here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S5M2r_jLaw&feature=youtu.be

Ashleigh Knight

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